JueYan

grantmaker / philanthropic advisor
343 karmaJoined Feb 2020Working (6-15 years)San Francisco, CA, USA

Bio

- philanthropic advisor / grantmaker 
- spent 10 years earning-to-give as a hedge fund manager
- built and led a 20-evaluator grants process

- fund manager, AI Safety Tactical Opportunities Fund
- chair, investment committee, Founders Pledge
- board member, Rethink Priorities
- board member / seed funder, Suvita
- board member / seed funder, Family Empowerment Media
- speculation grantor, Survival and Flourishing Fund
- advisor, Charity Entrepreneurship

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Thanks for that! That seems reasonable. I'd like to point out that this advice only applies to US staff, who have an obligation to report their foreign accounts (above some balance). I'd assume only the folks who have access / authority over the account have a filing requirement, not all US staff in the org. My experience is that this level of FBAR reporting isn't onerous.

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/report-of-foreign-bank-and-financial-accounts-fbar

You need this information, and only the last requires some math:
 

  • Name on the account, 
  • Account number,
  • Name and address of the foreign bank, 
  • Type of account, and 
  • Maximum value during the year. 

(As a US citizen with a UK bank account from working abroad, I file FBARs for my personal accounts.)

I’ve also heard that Mercury has a great user experience, but as you mentioned, sadly, they’re not available for nonprofits. For a for-profit, your money market sweep goes to the Vanguard Treasury Money Market Fund, which is awesome: a reputable provider, $59bn under management, and 5.24% yield*. Mercury also offers a multi-bank sweep option, where you can put your balance across say 20 banks, so you get 20x the $250k FDIC limit in government protection.

If it weren’t for these “invincibility”** features, Mercury may well have failed when Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic failed. Mercury serves mostly startups, who tend to have large balances (over the $250k FDIC limit) and who know each other (and can spark bank runs through their dense networks). Worse, it’s not a bank, and there’s no stock prices or bond prices*** to watch to see when they’re in trouble.

* note that if you got the same yield via a certificate of deposit instead of a money market account, that’s materially worse, since you’re not insulated from bank failures, and may not be able to redeem if the bank becomes distressed

** not actually invincible

*** observable measures of distress are a double-edged sword: you know when the bank is in trouble, but everyone does, so small concerns can snowball into a real large concern

This is an observation, not an inference.

1) I recently compiled an (admittedly imperfect) list of the 10 senior investors most qualified to give EA investing advice. To avoid calling anyone out, [0 to 1] of the top 10 investing posts are authored by one of these senior folks, and scrolling quickly through top comments, [0 to 2] comments on these posts are by these senior folks.

2) I recently tried to gather 8 of the 10 to discuss investing strategy. 6 of us were able to meet, and our #2 and #3 deliverables coming out of that were “write a forum post on why not to get financial advice from the forum” and “create a basic advice doc”. This is #1, and when combined with the Charity Entrepreneurship book excerpt, hopefully is #2.

Some of what’s on the forum is thoughtful and interesting. But financial professionals structurally cannot refute what isn’t accurate. The most common failure mode is building castles in the sky – theorizing without a basis in reality / without chatting with any actual investors.